It’s a common practice for entrepreneurs to use images found on the internet for online marketing without significant contemplation. However in many instances, these images are protected under copyright law, and use without a valid license could be considered copyright infringement. If there is a federal copyright associated with the image, federal copyright laws will allow the copyright holder to seek compensation for the unauthorized use. Many copyright holders contract with stock photo agencies who monitor use of the copyrighted images. If an agency detects infringement, it’s possible they will send a notice to cease and desist which may include a request for damages. If a cease and desist notice for unauthorized use of an image is received, it’s important to seek legal counsel for guidance before taking further action.
by Kate E. Hynes